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Senate's fix to health law slowed by snag

Brushing off a snag in the Senate, House Democratic leaders said they are prepared to finish work by late today on a package of fixes to the big health care law signed by President Barack Obama. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a statement this morning that if the Senate finishes its work by the afternoon, as expected, the House will immediately take up the bill. Democrats are saying they do not expect any major problems — but they're also keeping their fingers crossed. "The Senate is expected to complete work this afternoon on the improvements bill to the new health care reform law," said Hoyer, D-Md. "If they finish their work later today as planned, the House will take up the improvements bill with technical corrections this evening." After nine straight hours of beat ing back Republ ican amendments, Senate Democrats hit a temporary snag in the nighttime hours early today. They had hoped to complete work on the fix-it bill by midday today and get it quickly to Obama without changes to avoid prolonging what has been a politically painful ordeal for the party. But Republicans learned early today they will be able to kill some language in the bill that relates to Pell grants for low-income college students. That means the altered bill will have to be returned to the House for final congressional approval before it can be sent to Obama. Democrats described the situation as a minor glitch, but did not rule out that Republicans might be able to remove additional sections of the bill. The president, who signed the landmark legislation into law Tuesday, was flying to Iowa later in the day for the first of many appearances around the country to sell his health care revamp before the fall congressional elections. Obama was appearing in Iowa City, where as a presidential candidate in 2007 he touted his ideas for health coverage for all. His trip comes as polls show people are divided over the new health law, and Democratic lawmakers from competitive districts hope he can convince more voters by November that it was the right move.


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